Sandals On – The Road Awaits

Sandals On – The Road Awaits

Japanese people have worn variations on woven straw sandals for over a thousand years. The simplest ones, known  as warazori, slipped over the foot and were worn for daily labor. Waraji had (and still have) ties to secure the shoe around the ankle, making them better suited for pilgrimages and other long-distance travel. People sometimes offered, or presented, waraji to Buddhist temples as a prayer for strength, either to work or to complete a special pilgrimage or journey. Sometimes the sandals were normal-sized, but in some cases – like the giant 0-waraji that adorn the back side of the hozomon at Tokyo’s Senso-ji – the sandals

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A Visit to Nezu Jinja, Part 2

A Visit to Nezu Jinja, Part 2

(To read Part 1, click here.) Like many Shintō shrines in Japan, Nezu Jinja features a subshrine dedicated to Inari Ōkami, the kami (god) of foxes, rice, sake, fertility, swordsmiths, merchants, agriculture, and worldly success (among other things). There are over 10,000 Inari shrines across Japan — and with good reason, given Japan’s historical dependence upon rice as a primary source of food (and, at one time, as the measure of wealth as well).

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A Visit to Nezu Jinja (Shrine), Part 1

A Visit to Nezu Jinja (Shrine), Part 1

Nezu Jinja lies in Tokyo’s Bunkyō ward, and has since Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi ordered the shine moved to its current location in 1705. The shrine is perhaps best known for its extensive azalea garden, which erupt in color every April (there’s even an azalea festival at the shrine each spring), but I visited for the first time last December and can attest it’s worth a visit in any season.

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Goodbye Hair – Hello to a Warrior Life

Goodbye Hair – Hello to a Warrior Life

Most people who undergo chemotherapy lose their hair. Most women who receive the A/C drug cocktail I’m receiving for breast cancer treatment begin seeing the effects of alopecia (hair loss) about 14 days after their first treatment. Apparently, I’m a bit of an overachiever. Last night in the shower, my hair began falling out in clumps – and once it dried a few hours later, I ran my hand through it and came away with a large enough portion that it was clear the time had come. I went to the bathroom and shaved my head.

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Blueberry-Cinnamon Oatmeal With Chia

Blueberry-Cinnamon Oatmeal With Chia

Since I’m currently undergoing chemotherapy following breast cancer surgery, I’ve cleaned up my act where my diet is concerned. No one can guarantee that a certain food, or diet plan, will prevent, cure, or even help with cancer treatment – but healthy foods are never a bad idea. On the days right after my treatment, I take joy in preparing my meals, and it helps my appetite (which chemo suppresses) too. In the interest of sharing – and hopefully helping other people looking for healthy, simple, and tasty recipes, I’m going to share a few of my favorites in the weeks

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100 Summits: Nihon Hyakumeizan 2018!

100 Summits: Nihon Hyakumeizan 2018!

Happy New Year, everyone! Now that 2018 is upon us, I’m officially launching My 100 Summits Project: Nihon Hyakumaeizan 2018! As I mentioned in December, I’m under contract to climb and write a book about the Nihon Hyakumeizan (100 Famous Mountains of Japan) as described in Kyūya Fukada’s 1964 mountaineering book by the same name. Fukada’s book has inspired generations of Japanese mountaineers (and many from other countries around the world) to climb his “Hundred Famous Peaks” – which Fukada selected on the basis of their history, beauty, and essential “Japanese” character.   The world record for climbing all 100 peaks is

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100 Summits, Plus 1 More: Chemotherapy (Day 1)

100 Summits, Plus 1 More: Chemotherapy (Day 1)

In 2018, I will attempt to become the first American woman over 45  to climb the Nihon hyakumeizan (100 famous mountains of Japan) in a single year. Given my recent cancer diagnosis and surgery, I believe I’ll also be the only person of any age to climb them within a year of completing chemotherapy. My oncologist described the journey as “100 summits, plus one more.” I started up the first one yesterday – even though I didn’t walk a step. Since I plan to chronicle the entire 100 Summits experience here on the blog, I’m including my “climb” through chemotherapy also

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The Joy of Tokyo’s Festival Foods

The Joy of Tokyo’s Festival Foods

Last weekend, I went to the hagoita-ichi matsuri (festival) at Sensōji, in Tokyo. I love shrine and temple festivals for many reasons – and festival food is high on the list. On normal days, the wide pathways in Japanese shrine and temple yards offer visitors plenty of space to walk and meditate. At festivals, vendors line the paths. selling a wide assortment of treats.

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